Thinking Digital

Max Amordeluso:

We are starting to see people have multiple Echo devices in their home, and so only the nearest one should answer you.

Some older people have been speaking with their radios for a long time - now with Alexa the radio can answer back

as of 2 weeks ago, we have launched Alexa skills for Kids in the UK and Germany - you need shorter prompts, continuous feedback and simpler words

a favourite skill of mine is Kids Court that turns Alexa into a judge for children's disputes

This is Maura - she's my friends grandmother. She skipped the mobile generation, but she can use Alexa straight away.

the bbc team prototyped their Alexa skills by having scripts for people talking to each other

Sarah Wiseman:

I'm Sarah Wiseman and I'm here to explain why pizza emoji means "I love you"

In 2017 the OED chose word of the year as "youthquake" - though later research showed that Corbyn's yourthquake didn't bring all the votes to the yard

In 2015 the OED chose the crying with laughter emoji as word of the year - it was 20% of UK emoji that year, though usage has fallen off over the last year

60 million emoji are used a day on facebook, but 5 billion are used daily on facebook messenger

I'm from Goldsmith's University in London, researching in Human Computer Interaction - previously I've worked on medical devices and immersive theatre

more recently this has meant researching emoji

when my friend finally bought her house, I responded with 🎏🎏🎏carp streamers - I then realised that this was only a celebratory emoji for me and my sister

Just as 2 people can listen to the same audio clip and one hear Yanny and the other Laurel, they can look at the same emoji and see a different meaning

U+1F351 Peach was changed 🍑to look less clefty - 73% of the time peach is used to mean buttocks, and apple ruined sexting

aubergine and peach repurposing have become a universal thing

🕵️‍♀️teenagers are now using emoji with secret meanings

💀➡️🔥 can mean "I hope you die in a fire" according to Fox News

I ran a study last year to see if me and my sister were weird for using carp streamers for a secret meaning, and found lots of repurposing

mostly people repurpose faces, animals and food especially with their romantic partners

🐙octopus was most used to mean hugs or other things… and 🐧penguin was used as a pet name most often

🐐was used to mean 'horny' and 👹was used for sex as it was unsexy

some people repurposed bath 🛀as coffin as there was no coffin emoji at the time⚰️

a lot of emoji were repurposed because of shared history, some by sound 🎩💩for Hatchet (their pub)

people used food to mean I love you - 🍕or 🧀

sending 🐻says a lot without having to find words

Humans don't understand emoji yet, so be extra careful when you teach a machine to understand emoji

Moon Ribas:

I identify as a cyborg as I have implants on my feet that vibrate when seismographs pick up earhquakes

I now have a new sense - I feel the seismic motion of the planet in real time

I was a dancer, and we were encouraged to use technology in our dance pieces - I wanted this to be more natural and feel more

I first had sensors on my earring to detect motion of people near me, but I wanted to feel the planet moving instead

witht his seismic sense I now feel that I have 2 heartbeats, I used to wake up in the night if there was a big quake, now it is . a background sense

the seismic sense is an artwork, but I am the only audience for it - the performance is inside my body. I experience the art, and I find ways to share it

I do a performance called "waiting for an earthquake" where I dance based on the movements of the earth =- sometimes we have to wait for a while until it happens

last year I helped found the Cyborg foundation to help people become cyborgs, to promote cyborg arts and to defend peoples rights to modify themselves

we have also founded the transpecies society - we shouldn't be scared of evolving beyond the human

Neil and I have bad teeth . I have one tooth missing, he has 2. we had implants that could click in each others mouths, which we use fro morese code

the messaging was using the bluetooth protocol, so it was a bluetooth tooth

my firend has barometric ears - he can feel the air pressure directly with his ears

we don't do virtual reality, we do revealed reality

I now want to have implants the reflect earthquakes on the moon

Herb Kim:

where do you find a doctor to do these kinds of implants?

Sarah Wiseman:

we have underground doctors

Dave Evans:

How many of you have more than 7 grandchildren? No-one? I win again

Herb Kim:

I hope you liked this video:

Thinking Digital started as an economic development activity and we thank Newcastle University, accenture, comparethemarket and Make it Sunderland

Graham Richter:

I'm a Managing Director for accenture - I think Blockchain is fantastic example of disruptive technology

we've seen blockchain compared to the internet - giving access to the economy the way the internet gave access to information

blockchain is simply a database, but everyone shares the same data, everyone agrees on the data, no-one can change the data

you can trust data in the blockchain, even if you don't trust the person who put it there [I don't think you understand GIGO]

any electronic transaction has about 12 parties involved and about a third of the cost of commerce is spent on keeping track of this

about a million people a year die from taking fake pharmaceutical products - tracking supply chains is vital

blockchain can give a certified supply chain all the way back to the original farmer who grew the product [how is this immune to forgery?]

Is this stuff real? The answer is yes and no.

Bitcoin works - if you break Bitcoin you walk away with $70bn [no you don't, you make it disappear. The incentive is to hide the problems]

we can see a future where you don't have passports, and your travel is recorded immediately on the blockchain [surveillance is your friend]

Herb Kim:

so the hype quotes are the beginning are right, and this is a technology of trust?

Graham Richter:

we're calling this the frictionless economy because people can transact directly [have you tried selling bitcoin?]

bitcoin is a bit of a distrcation from the blockchain world, Bitcoin technology is creaky and 10 years old. New cryptocurrencies are better designed

dr julie freeman:

This is a naked mole rat - I became obsessed with these critters while doing a science phd

I want to talk about data, but people are overloaded with cambridge analytica, facebook and GDPR, but it isn't all bad

we don't hear about the good stuff with data, we hear about shrining civic spaces and mass surveillance, but ti can be used for good

Voice recordings can be analysed to help cure parkinsons, contributing to open street map can help tackle inequality and fight diseases

I'm particularly interested in how the natural world has become a stream of data that shapes our lives

I use data as an art material. It becomes something flexible and malleable and manipulable - all the things you can't do if it is on a blockchain

data can be used in many ways, because we interpret data to tell our own stories

Naked mole rats are incredible - they can survive without oxygen for 18 minutes, and have huge frnt teeth that can be moved independently like chopsticks, and they don't get cancer

we have a data feed that shows us where the naked mole rats are all the time, and see who patorls where - the queen patrols 3 times as far as the other mole rats

this is real time feed of the animal data that controls different variables in the animation

I like to set up the systems and pour data into them without full control over how it displays

I made a soft robotics visualiser that maps data to flexible objects with a smooth and fluid body language

when people go on safari and photograph elephants, they are leaking the geolocation on social media and helping poachers find the elephants. We need data privacy for animals

Ravinder S. Dahiya:

I'm professor of electronics and nanoengineering at Glasgow, and working on Bendable electronics

the goal is to make an e-skin that can be used in robotics and later apply it to humans

if you go to a car factory, the robots are kept in cages to protect human workers from injury

we want future robots to work side by side with humans in our daily lives, not in cages - there is physical contact between man and machine

if there is physical contact then how things feel is important

could a wheelchair be connected with soft robotics so you can feel through it?

we want humanoid robots, but so far they don't have a sense of touch, so we need to make robotic skin

skin over all our bodies is important because that gives a sense of motion to the whole being, not just fingertips

we take a silicon wafer that is about 500 micrometres thick and etch it down to 10 µm to make it flexible

we built a flexible sensor that can attach to human skin, and give a direct reading of pH of the sweat which correlates with blood glucose

Mr Bingo:

I know it's called thinking digital, but I think in an analogue way - I did a project called hate mail where I sent rude letters to people and it became an art project by accident

if you want to become a new thing, start telling people you are that thing

I made an advent calendar with 25 people wearing clothes that you could scratch off with a coin

it is quite hard to find naked pictures of normal people on the internet, I don't know if you have ever searched for "naked picture"

for last year I crowd sourced people to be in the advent calendar and 258 people wanted to be photographed naked

3 kinds - exhibitionists, fans of my work, and people who want a challenge int their lives, and have a 'fuck it' moment

i wanted a mixture of different people and body types, so I followed the 258 people and looked at their body types

the great thing about doing an advent calendar is that all december you get great free marketing on social media for a product than can never be bought again

find me on the internet if you want to be in it this year

my website is my name:

Alasdair Greig:

At Northstar we're keen on investing in the North East as a centre for aging

we have here the nation innovation centre for ageing and the national innovation area for data

we're starting a chapter of Aging 2.0 in newcastle

Herb Kim:

it's the finals of our startup competition today

Alasdair Greig:

2 companies came out as the winners yesterday - Guardian Angel Network and Thirsty

Guardian Angel:

I'm sam the founder of Guardian Angle, and I'm here because everybody dies

with no go-to social environment available, people retreat and things pile up. everyone sends flowers and food, so your house is like florists cafe

we set up a private social network for the recently bereaved family members to give functional help in the weeks following a death

we want to move from immediate help to memorialising to helping others to planning for our own deaths


About 1000 patients are dying each month of dehydration in care, and they have no way of tracking drinking

we put a puck in each bedside to keep track of how much water they are drinking all the time

we're running trials with Homerton hospital and York council care homes - we want to come to market in the next 6 months

Herb Kim:

why did you change from consumer oriented to B2b?


when we went on dragon's den we thought we'd sell it to individuals, but got loads of feedback on how it would suit the elderly, so we switched to focus on that

Yang Dan:

I'm a professor of Neurobiology at UC Berkeley. I was originally studying the visual system

when measuring visual perception, I realised that we don't know enough about how sleep is regulated by the brain

Sleep is an essential innate behaviour - babies don't have to learn it from adults

when 3 ducks sleep in a row, the centre duck closes both eyes and the outer ducks keep one eye open

Yang Dan: the 2 big questions are "Why do we sleep?" and "How is sleep controlled"

we have measured memory consolidation in sleep, and also clear up metabolic waste products

we know that both REM and non-REM sleep are controlled by differernt parts of the brain

the brain really looks like a bowl of spaghetti - it's very difficult to separate the chains of neurons

we have found wake neurons that we can stimulate with light to wake them up

the ultimate goal is to be abel to turn sleep on and off on demand

tatiana oliveira simonian:

I'm here to talk about #slowsocial - it's not a 30 day technology fast. Instead it is about embracing mindfulness                                                                                       

I was the first person to be in charge of growth in music at twitter, and before that I was in charge of artists social on disney

I learned html on mspace becasue I wanted to make my profile look better

it's ironic to me that we now need to say in meetings "laptops down" so that people pay attention to the meeting that they are in

when I was at Uni I did speech - we were a mix of interp kids - theater brats like me and debate kids who wanted to be politicians

we had a trip to the grand canyon, and I whined "what are we going to do at the grand canyon?" The debate guy said "stare at the hole"

I am a failure at mindfulness - we need to be in social networks all the time these days and don't switch off

we need to be in the business of relationships, not connections.

take a social sabbath, embrace JOMO, Make Stuff

Venkatesh Rao:

My body is still on seattle time, so good morning.

thinking digital is not about using computers more, it's about using clocks less

mechanical clocks over the last 500 years have transformed our personality. That is finally changing, thanks to computers

we used to have an appointment wiht the TV, now we binge watch instead [yep ]

we used to spend all our time being interrupted by each other using telephones - now we don't , we just text instead

we used to all wear watches with clocks, to events notifying on our phones

the greeks had 2 personifications of time - Chronos who was longitudinal time and his symbol was a scythe; Chryros was the opportune moment in time, his symbol was the scales

Wells invented one kind of time travel story, but Virginia Woolf invented the stream of consciousness narrative in time

Woolf's Mrs Dalloway has characters interrupted by Big Ben - Chronos interrupting Chyros. Woolf claimed we went on the clock in 1810

we had city-wide time in the 19th C and country wide thanks to trains in 1880s, and in 1930s we had electric grid synchronised time

we had radio synchronised time in the 1940s, and now atomic clocks in orbit on GPS synchronising time in the 1980s

just as Chronos got perfect time, we got off the clock - Saturn (Chronos) ate his children but one escaped - Zeus and got his children back

Ray Cummings in 1920 said "Time is what stops everything happening at once"

Ursula Le Guin has 2 kind of time - an internal time that is personal and cyclical, but an external chronological time of history

The cathedral in Ulm was only 5% taller than the great pyramid, but the Burj Khalifa is 5 times as tall

this was possible because of reinforced cocnrete and elevators and air conditioning; what is that for time?

Philip K Dick: Reality is that which doesn't go away when you stop believing it - but his characters could always escape reality into their own minds

a man was so upset when Trump won, that he retreated from reality so he never reads the news and asks no-one to tell him about it

if you want to create your own reality by crafting your information reality, that takes a lot of work

if you don't manage it, you will end up where Bruce Sterling and William Gibson describe: atemporality

binge watching is atemporality run amok where you lose a day to another linear timestream

Between 1910 and 2007 we had Chronos dominant, now Kairos is back in charge

Mike Taulty:

I work for microsoft here in the UK - I am calling this Flat Earth computing - so right away I went off and Googled… no I Binged it and found Mike Hughes who thinks the earth is a frisbee with turned up edges

I was called a flat earther in the context of HCI - there were 3: command line; the GUI era, the Touch era, which we are in. This is flat earth computing- input and output are both in 2d

Life isn't lived in 2 dimensions, we move in 3 dimensions. Who made a 2d picture in the last week? Everyone. Who has made a 3D one - almost nobody

3D is still too hard. We now have gltf - "the jpeg of 3d" for transmitting and loading 3d models

we have a free tool in windows that makes it easier to create 3D models - we've been building 3d fiels into windows 10 and our other tools

we are focused on mixed reality now - not going into VR and hiding the world, but Hololens that puts 3d content into the real world

I can drag a hologram into the real world, but it won't let me drop it through the floor or wall

hololens ia a comercial device -we are not pitching it to consumers - we need to come up with use case that genuinely have impact, not just 3d sauce on the top

Ben Morris:

I've spent the last 3 and half years of my life making The Last Jedi, and it was the pinnacle of my career - since I saw star wars in 1977

Rian Johnson had very clear ideas of what he wanted to make - we wanted as many in camera effects as possible, but we had 1850 VFX 200 prod fixes and 400 digital makeups

4 ILM studios & over 10 external VFX comapnies working on it too

We lost Carrie during the film, and we did not have to do any VFX jiggery pokery - she shot all her scenes

We built an entire set for the Jedi Village on Sybil Head - we expected rain, but it was incredibly sunny so we had to wet the set oursleves

Snoke's ship is 100km wide, which is now the record for biggest spaceship made.

we built practical bombs and a real mechanised gun turret with CNC

we 3d printed draft models, then the art director hand-painted them; we also get artists to paint over 3d models in photoshops

there is a subtle aesthetic to the Star Wars world - the space ships all have to look lived in and real

we simulate all of the explosions with physics- we set up bombs and gases and model the interior so we can see bits fall apart. we blew up all the ships we modelled

we had a super cool black ship that was amazing, but you put it in front of space and you can't see it…

I used to make puppets and I still love all of that - we made animatronic heads for the guardians

we didn't want to do a digital Yoda - we built a perfect replica of the original Yoda puppet and was performed practically

we had practical Porg perfromers which meant a lot of green screen to remove

with the Fathier creatures we had to decide whether it was canine, equine or feline and we modelled it all 3 ways to work out how to make them move

and once we had animated it we built the 3d rig fro them to ride and drove it with servos to match

Andy Serkis was Snoke, and he needed to interact with the actors, despite being 25 feet tall

Phasma is a nightmare because she reflects everything - you can see the crew on their phones waiting for the shot, bits of ceiling so we had to replace it all

we looked at particle accelerators and magnesium ribbons and made the intensely super white and made it monochrome

Sorry I ran so long - I could do this for hours